Kiessling: Germany's trump card
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It was a moment she will never forget. For over 80 minutes Germany had been chasing an equaliser against China PR but seemed incapable of forcing the ball over the line. That was, at least, until the fourth minute of added time, when substitute Ricarda Kiessling finally headed home a long-awaited leveller.

"Daria Streng delivered a lovely ball into the box," explained the goalscorer in an exclusive interview with "Sharon [Beck] blocked off the opponents well and the ball arrived perfectly. Obviously I was delighted it went in."

Kiessling, who had just greatly bolstered Germany's chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, was then engulfed by her colleagues in a bundle of celebrations.

"The team congratulated me but it doesn't matter who scores the goals," she explained in an attempt to sidestep the limelight. "The important thing is that we never gave up as a team and eventually got the ball in the net. Whenever I play, I always give my all and try to help the team as much as possible."

Brazilian magic meets German mettle
The statement was a typically modest one from the TSV 1861 Nordlingen forward, who has netted two goals in three appearances from the bench already in Azerbaijan. Aside from the match against China PR, Kiessling also struck in Germany's final group game against Uruguay, earning herself something of a reputation as a 'super-sub'.

"I try to help as much as I can, but I don't know if you can call me a super-sub," said the 16-year-old, who got involved in football through her two brothers. "I'm just trying to earn a place in the starting line-up. We'll see if I score any more goals, I'll definitely try."

Kiessling and her colleagues face a tough task in the quarter-finals against Brazil. Seleção star Byanca wowed the crowd with her looping winner against Mexico and will no doubt delve into her bag of tricks against Germany too.

"We need to make sure that we keep improving and muster all our strength," said Kiessling. "I think if we stick together and perform as we can do, we can beat Brazil."

Birthday victory
It is this kind of team spirit which has propelled German youth teams into the latter stages of various FIFA tournaments, earning them a UEFA U-17 Women's European Championship title earlier this year. Coach Anouschka Bernhard has played a key role in that success, as Kiessling gladly testifies.

"The coach is an important figure for us. She helps us and shows us where we can improve. Harmony within the team is very important to her and I think that's a good thing."

Now Kiessling is hoping to give her coach, who turns 42 on the day of the match, the perfect birthday present by firing Germany into the semi-finals.